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Johnson's Grass Tree (bushfire recovery)

Xanthorrhoea johnsonii


Not the echidna I first thought it was, but rather, I had spotted a grass tree, and it was reshooting after recent bushfires burnt through this region in 2019. There are two species documented in Girraween.... Xanthorrhoea johnsonii, commonly known as "forest grass tree" or "Johnson's grass tree", and Xanthorrhoea latifolia ssp. latifolia, of which I'm unable to find a common name other than the generic "grass tree". These species belong to the family Asphodelaceae, and the Xanthorrhoea genus contains roughly 30 species, of which these two are endemic to eastern Australia. Grass trees have a very slow growth rate and can live for hundreds of years, so this specimen is still very young, although it has all the character which is so typical of the grass tree species. NB: I have selected X. johnsonii as the spotting ID for the simple reason that it has been mentioned by three independent local sources in reference to this national park. PS: This is a spotting I made in Brisbane last year, and it shows X. johnsonii in flower.... It is such an unusual plant.


Spotted along the Peak Trail in Girraween National Park. Grass trees occur mainly in soils that are very free-draining and consequently low in nutrients - sandy granite soils in this case. Area largely dry sclerophyll forest, and foliage is much greener and lush since the drought has broken. Exposed to full-sun along this section of track, and there were some areas that were still damp and muddy from recent rain. Here's some park info -


Both species of Xanthorrhoea are a source of "bush tucker". Honey Production: honey source minor, pollen source minor. Dry flower stalks used for fire-making. Bush food: edible nectar, seeds and leaf bases. Grubs in trunk base. (Noosa's Native Plants)

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross 3 years ago

Thanks, Tukup. A slow process, but it's a beautiful sight to see things kicking off again.

Tukup 3 years ago

Glad to see things coming back to life. Thanks Neil.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 3 years ago

Thanks, ornithoptera80. It's coming back, slowly but surely. We just need more follow-up rain.

Ornithoptera80 3 years ago

Good the area is still alive, and great shot.

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Mar 7, 2020
Submitted on Apr 17, 2020

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